Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-20T03:21:32Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[BoSox Asked A's For Permission To Speak With Billy Beane In 2019]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=256359 2020-10-13T20:05:13Z 2020-10-13T19:58:57Z
  • Since front office hiring negotiations aren’t usually recreated as movie scenes, it is common knowledge that the Red Sox tried to lure Billy Beane away from Oakland in 2002.  However, the Athletic’s Evan Drellich (Twitter link) reports that the Sox made a much more recent overture for Beane’s services, asking the Athletics for permission to speak with Beane just last year when the Sox were looking for a new front office boss.  Chaim Bloom ended up being hired as the Red Sox chief baseball officer, though it’s possible Bloom could have been hired to work under Beane, as Red Sox ownership wanted “a senior voice for someone more inexperienced.”  As it turned out, Bloom became the top voice in Boston’s baseball operations pyramid and Beane remained with the A’s, though Beane’s future has become the subject of speculation in recent days.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Billy Beane’s MLB Future Uncertain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=255783 2020-10-13T00:52:04Z 2020-10-12T23:27:18Z Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is co-chair of RedBall Acquisition Corp., a company in talks with current Red Sox ownership, Fenway Sports Group, about a potential merger that would see RedBall take over a 25% ownership stake in the Boston franchise. Those talks are in their early stages and a deal isn’t an inevitability, but there’d be an obvious conflict of interest if the parties do eventually come to an agreement. (Beane also has an approximate 1% ownership stake in the Athletics, notes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle).

    If the potential RedBall-FSG merger were to go through, Beane would likely step down from his position with the A’s, report Jared Diamond, Joshua Robinson and Miriam Gotffried of the Wall Street Journal. Slusser hears the same, noting that the deal might be finalized by the end of the calendar year. Beane leaving the A’s wouldn’t be surprising under those circumstances, but he’s not planning to make the jump to the Red Sox front office. Rather, Beane would step away from MLB front office work altogether, per the reports, likely to pursue a position with a European soccer club. The 58-year-old has spoken about his affinity for soccer in the past, and he was part of a group that purchased English club Barnsley FC in 2017, as Eric Chesterton of MLB.com detailed at the time.

    Red Sox principal owner John Henry has long had an affinity for Beane. Henry tried unsuccessfully to coax Beane out of Oakland in 2002 to take over the Red Sox baseball operations, shortly before the publication of Moneyball helped make the latter one of the most famous sports executives in history. The two men also share a passion for soccer, with Fenway Sports Group purchasing Premier League club Liverpool FC in 2010.

    It’s worth reiterating that nothing is yet official between RedBall and FSG. Beane was part of the A’s season-ending media call with general manager David Forst and manager Bob Melvin last week and gave no indication he was contemplating an imminent exit, the Wall Street Journal notes. Beane has declined comment regarding his future, but one source told Slusser he might “like a new adventure.” The A’s front office was especially frustrated with ownership’s decision to institute widespread layoffs and furloughs over the summer, Slusser adds, although it’s unclear if that has any impact on Beane’s thought process.

    If Beane were to step away, the A’s would unsurprisingly hand the reins to Forst, Slusser reports. The 44-year-old has been in the organization since 2000 and served as GM for the past five seasons. Forst signed a long-term extension two years ago and has longed seemed the baseball operations leader of the future in Oakland.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Hope To Retain Marcus Semien]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=254112 2020-10-09T22:30:18Z 2020-10-09T22:30:18Z With the Athletics’ season having ended in disappointing fashion in an ALDS loss to the Astros, they’re turning their focus to important winter matters. The A’s have multiple notable pending free agents, including Marcus Semien, and they hope to retain the shortstop, general manager David Forst informed Martin Gallegos of MLB.com and other reporters on Friday.

    “I told him we would love to have him back here,” Forst said to Semien in a text message. “We’ve had an open line of communication with him and his agent. That will certainly be one of the topics for this offseason.”

    A year ago at this time, Semien looked like one of the premier players in baseball. He was then coming off an MVP-caliber effort that saw him slash .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 7.6 fWAR in a 162-game, 747-plate appearance season. Prior to that, Semien was closer to a league-average hitter, and he returned to that form in 2020. The 30-year-old concluded with a .223/.305/.374 mark and seven homers over 236 PA, which won’t serve him well as he nears his first trip to free agency.

    If the A’s aren’t able to extend Semien in the next few weeks, they’ll have to decide whether to hand him a qualifying offer worth $18.9MM. But they’ll have to make the same choice with elite reliever Liam Hendriks, and it’s hard to believe the small-budget A’s would risk committing so much money to both players. Regardless, if Semien does become a free agent, he’ll join Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and soon-to-be posted KBO star Ha-Seong Kim as one of the top shortstops on the market.

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: More Likely Comeback, Athletics or Yankees?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253702 2020-10-08T18:46:33Z 2020-10-08T18:46:33Z Both American League Division Series move to their fourth games Thursday. That leaves a pair of AL clubs staring down elimination. The West-winning Athletics dropped the first two against the division-rival Astros but survived the first of three potential elimination games yesterday. The Yankees, meanwhile, are on the ropes after dropping two straight in their set with the top-seeded Rays.

    Each of the A’s and Yankees will need to win the final two games of their upcoming series to advance to the ALCS. Oakland will turn to Frankie Montas this afternoon, while the Astros will counter with staff ace Zack Greinke. New York is relying on Jordan Montgomery tonight, while Rays’ manager Kevin Cash will open with Ryan Thompson, presumably before turning to Ryan Yarbrough.

    We’ll let the MLBTR readership weigh in. Can the Yankees’ high-powered offense overcome the Rays’ stellar pitching staff? Will the A’s star-studded bullpen right the ship and keep the Astros’ scorching lineup in check? Which team is more likely to dig themselves out of their current hole?

    (poll link for app users)

     

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Latest On Tommy La Stella]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253300 2020-10-08T16:57:39Z 2020-10-08T16:57:49Z OCTOBER 8: Apparently, the A’s dodged a bullet. La Stella’s back in the lineup, hitting second and playing second base, for today’s must-win Game 4.

    OCTOBER 7: The Athletics staved off elimination in this afternoon’s ALDS Game 3 against the division-rival Astros. That didn’t come without a potentially big loss though, as second baseman Tommy La Stella exited the game in the eighth inning (via Martín Gallegos of MLB.com). The left-handed hitter took a Brooks Raley fastball off his right arm and was immediately replaced by utilityman Nate Orf (relays Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). La Stella suffered a right elbow contusion, Melvin told reporters (Slusser link). Fortunately, x-rays came back negative, Slusser adds.

    Oakland has alternatives at the keystone if need be, but none are likely to match La Stella’s level of production. Between the Angels and A’s, the 31-year-old combined for a very strong .281/.370/.449 line with five home runs this season. Orf, a 30-year-old with just 32 career MLB plate appearances, would probably be miscast as an everyday player. Manager Bob Melvin could turn to the left-handed hitting Tony Kemp or right-handed Chad Pinder, both of whom are also on Oakland’s ALDS roster. Pinder has started each of the last two games at third base, though, so turning to him would push Jake Lamb into everyday duty at the hot corner.

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Athletics To Start Frankie Montas This Afternoon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253639 2020-10-08T16:20:19Z 2020-10-08T16:07:29Z
  • The Athletics are turning the ball over to right-hander Frankie Montas for this afternoon’s must-win Game 4 against the Astros, per various reporters (including Shayna Rubin of the San Jose Mercury News). The 27-year-old was the best pitcher on staff in 2019 before an 80-game suspension following a positive PED test derailed his season. Montas hasn’t performed anywhere close to last year’s level in 2020, although he continues to pump high-90’s heat and strike batters out at a high rate.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Athletics Announce ALDS Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=252514 2020-10-05T17:48:28Z 2020-10-05T17:48:28Z The Athletics have finalized their 28-man roster for this week’s showdown with the division-rival Astros. Here’s how things shake out:

    Right-Handed Pitchers

    Left-Handed Pitchers

    Catchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    Like their opponents, the A’s will add a reliever to their ALDS roster at the expense of an infielder. The hard-throwing Weems is on the team, while rookie Vimael Machin will be left off for this series.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Athletics, Astros Name Starters For First Two Games Of ALDS]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=252278 2020-10-04T21:57:53Z 2020-10-04T21:51:24Z The Oakland A’s will switch up their starting rotation heading into their ALDS series with the Houston Astros. Chris Bassitt – who started the 2nd game of the wild card series – will take the hill in the series opener, per Martín Gallegos of MLB.com (via Twitter).

    It would be easy to confuse Bassitt for a fungible back-end rotation type, but he’s been a consistent performer for Oakland over the years. This season represented a breakout of sorts for the 31-year-old, who went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA/3.59 FIP over 11 starts in the regular season. He went 7 innings, giving up just 1 earned run to keep the A’s season alive in game 2 of the wild card round against the White Sox.

    Lefty Sean Manaea will look for postseason redemption when he gets the ball in game 2, per Gallegos. Manaea – Gallegos reminds us – gave up 3 home runs over just two innings last season in a wild card game loss to the Rays. He’ll be familiar with his surroundings at Dodger Stadium, as his last start came in that very park a little under two weeks ago. For the year, Manaea went 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA/3.71 FIP in 11 starts.

    Manaea is one of a number of southpaws the A’s could throw at the Astros, who as a team marked a 94 wRC+ against lefties in 2020 versus 102 wRC+ against right-handers. Alex Bregman crushed lefties in 2020 for a 166 wRC+, but each of Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Kyle Tucker performed markedly better versus right-handers this season.

    After Bassitt and Manaea, the A’s could go in a number of different directions, which will likely depend on the results of the first two games. Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Mike Minor, and Mike Fiers could all be possibilities to start games 3 through 5. That group gives the A’s a slight advantage over the Astros when it comes to their rotations, writes MLB.com’s Andrew Simon.

    It would be quite the showdown for Fiers to get a start late in this series. Fiers, of course, famously outed the Astros in the sign-stealing scandal that rocked the baseball world last winter. The Astros and A’s already have enough to fight about given the early-season altercation between Ramon Laureano and Astros’ hitting coach Alex Cintron, which led to suspensions for the involved parties.

    All that said, Fiers may very well not be the best option for the A’s. Though he started the deciding third game of the wild card series, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. In prior seasons, he’s been passed over for key postseason starts both with the Astros and the Athletics. Luzardo is certain to land higher on the pecking order than Fiers, though he could be utilized out of the bullpen as he was in 2019. The same can be said for Montas, who came out of the bullpen for a two-inning stint against the White Sox.

    On the other side, manager Dusty Baker announced Lance McCullers Jr. and Framber Valdez as the starters for games 1 and 2, respectively, per the Athletic’s Jake Kaplan and others. The only real surprise here is that Zack Greinke would then be held out until game 3. Greinke is less likely than others to show up out of the bullpen the way Valdez did in game 1 of the wild card series. Still, with a 5-game series in 5 days, there figures to be less opportunity for that sort of roster manipulation. There will be a game 3, and no matter how the first two games of the series go, the Astros figure to feel pretty good with a rested Greinke ready to go in game 3. Baker, to be clear, has not named his game 3 starter.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Interested In Re-Signing Tommy La Stella]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250474 2020-09-30T00:05:42Z 2020-09-30T00:05:42Z The American League West champion Athletics’ postseason got off to a less-than-ideal start Tuesday with a loss to the Lucas Giolito-led White Sox, who held the A’s to just three hits in a 4-1 defeat. One of those hits came from infielder Tommy La Stella, whom the A’s could see depart in free agency once their season ends, though they’re interested in re-signing him.

    Oakland executive vice president Billy Beane lavished praise on La Stella this week, saying (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle), “I’ve known about La Stella going back to the Braves (2014), but you don’t realize how good this guy is until you see him on an everyday basis, he just puts a good at-bat on you every single time.”

    As far as possibly retaining La Stella goes, Beane stated: “I would normally say, ‘We’ll deal with it at the end of the season.’ But based on what I just said about him — well, you’d be crazy not to put him at the top of your list. I normally kind of hedge on everything because you never know, but goodness, he’s been so impressive it would behoove us to put him at the top of the list, at least have a discussion with him.”

    The Athletics paid a fairly high price for La Stella when they acquired him from the division-rival Angels before the July 31 deadline, as they gave up former top infield prospect Franklin Barreto in a one-for-one deal. Barreto never got much of a chance to establish himself in Oakland, whereas La Stella broke out as an Angel a year ago and has kept that momentum going between the Halos and A’s this season. The soon-to-be 32-year-old has slashed .289/.353/.483 with 20 home runs over 438 plate appearances dating back to 2019.

    Along with providing well-above-average offensive production since last year, La Stella has logged a significant amount of innings at second and third, which should up his earning power if he reaches free agency. If La Stella stays with the A’s, he probably won’t get much playing time going forward at the hot corner, where Matt Chapman should return from hip surgery in 2021. On the other hand, there’s far less certainty for Oakland at the keystone. La Stella has been the team’s top producer there, outdoing Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Athletics Set Wild Card Series Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250315 2020-09-29T17:13:08Z 2020-09-29T17:13:08Z The Athletics announced the 28-man roster for their Wild Card Series with the White Sox, beginning today in Oakland.  Jesus Luzardo will start Game 1 and Chris Bassitt is slated for Game 2.  No starter has been named for a potential Game 3, though it’s safe to assume that it will be an all-hands-on-deck situation if the A’s make it to the deciding games.

    With that in mind, Sean Manaea is probably the likeliest candidate to start a Game 3, making is less likely that the southpaw would appear out of the bullpen in either of the first two games.  Of the other starters on the Athletics’ roster, Frankie Montas, Mike Minor, or Mike Fiers could all see bullpen duty, adding to Oakland’s already-deep relief mix.  As reported yesterday, righty J.B. Wendelken is also back from a brief trip to the injured list, representing yet another relief option for manager Bob Melvin.

    Chad Pinder was activated from the injured list on Sunday, and the utilityman is in the Game 1 lineup as the designated hitter.

    Left-Handed Pitchers

    Right-Handed Pitchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    Catchers

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics To Activate J.B. Wendelken]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249991 2020-09-28T19:46:33Z 2020-09-28T19:42:23Z Athletics righty J.B. Wendelken will return from the injured list in time to be included on tomorrow’s postseason roster, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland placed the righty on the injured list over the weekend without specifying a reason. While the vague nature of his placement and his quick return suggest that he was very likely on the Covid-19 injured list, that doesn’t mean Wendelken ever tested positive. Players can be placed on the Covid-19 IL for experiencing symptoms or if they come into contact with someone who previously tested positive.

    Wendelken, 27, has quietly emerged as a key member of the Oakland relief corps. He’s racked up 25 innings with a 1.80 ERA and 3.07 FIP in 2020, averaging 11.2 strikeouts, 4.0 walks and 0.72 homers per nine innings along the way. Dating back to the 2018 season, Wendelken has given the Athletics 74 1/3 innings with a 2.30 ERA, a 3.03 FIP and well north of a punchout per inning pitched. This year, Wendelken ranks well above average in fastball velocity, fastball spin, average exit velocity, opponents’ hard-hit rate and expected ERA, per Statcast.

    A deep bullpen mix will be crucial against a formidable White Sox lineup that features multiple legitimate MVP candidates in Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson. That duo, plus the presence of Eloy Jimenez, make Wendelken all the more important, as he’s held opposing righties to a .205/.266/.319 slash in his career — including a .175/.226/.246 slash in 2020. Wendelken may well relish the chance to the White Sox, who traded him to Oakland in exchange for Brett Lawrie back in the 2015-16 offseason.

    That’s not the only notable bit of pitching news for the A’s today. The club announced on Twitter that rookie left-hander Jesus Luzardo will get the nod to start Game 1 of this week’s Wild Card series against the ChiSox, with right-hander Chris Bassitt lined up to take the hill in Game 2. Bassitt, like Wendelken, will be in line to make his postseason debut against the team that traded him to the Athletics.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[MLB Finalizes 16-Team Playoff Bracket]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249303 2020-09-28T02:00:04Z 2020-09-27T23:53:32Z With a hectic final day of play in the books, the 2020 playoff field is officially set – which visual learners can view here from MLB Network. The defending World Series champion Nationals and their newly-crowned batting champion Juan Soto will watch from home.  The Mets and Phillies turned in disappointing seasons, while the Marlins stunned their NL East counterparts to enter the postseason as the #6 seed in the National League. The Braves weathered a line change in their starting rotation to win their third consecutive NL East title.

    Elsewhere in the National League, Dodgers are the team to beat, while the Padres are the team to watch. The Rockies and Diamondbacks will face some hard questions in the offseason after disappointing years, while the Giants exceeded expectations but narrowly missed the postseason.

    The Central makes up half the playoff field in the National League with everyone but the Pirates continuing into MLB’s second season. The Cubs took home their third division title in five seasons behind stellar years from Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks, but it was a difficult season for many of their core offensive players. They were also the only team in the majors to go the entire season without a single player testing positive for COVID-19, per NBC Sports Chicago and others. The Cardinals will be the #5 seed after playing two fewer games than the rest of the league, Trevor Bauer led the Reds back to the postseason by winning the NL ERA title (in a free agent year no less), and the Brewers backed into the NL’s #8 seed without ever being above .500 in 2020.

    In the American League, small markets had themselves a year. The A’s took the AL West back from the defending AL champion Astros. Speaking of, Houston finished a tumultuous year without their ace Justin Verlander. Manager Dusty Baker will lead his fifth different team to the postseason, this one joining the Brewers as one of two under-.500 teams to reach the postseason. The Angels will reboot after firing their GM earlier today, while the Rangers and Mariners continue their rebuilds.

    The Rays, meanwhile, won the AL East for the first time in a decade and they’re the top seed in the American League. The Yankees settle for second place and the Blue Jays arrive to the postseason a little earlier than expected as the AL’s #8 seed. The Red Sox took an expected step back, while the Orioles performed better than expected, staying in the playoff hunt for most of the season.

    The Twins lost in extras today, but they nonetheless secured their second consecutive AL Central title. Shane Bieber put up a potentially MVP season to get the Indians back to the playoffs. The White Sox arrived in a major way led by Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu. Only a late season slide kept them from a division crown. They’ll head to Oakland as the #7 seed. The Tigers debuted a number of players they hope will be a part of their next competitive team, while the Royals said goodbye to a franchise icon in Alex Gordon’s final season.

    It was a short and bizarre season, but the playoffs – while expanded – aren’t going to be all that different from most years. There will be neutral sites and a wild card round of 3-game series, and playoff bubbles, but once the field is pared down to eight, it’s more or less business as usual for the postseason. It should be an exciting month of October.

    Here’s the final field of 16:

    National League

    (8) Brewers at (1) Dodgers

    (5) Cardinals at (4) Padres

    (6) Marlins at (3) Cubs

    (7) Reds at (2) Braves

    American League

    (8) Blue Jays at (1) Rays

    (5) Yankees at (4) Indians

    (6) Astros at (3) Twins

    (7) White Sox at (2) A’s

    The playoffs begin on Tuesday, September 29.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Place J.B. Wendelken On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=248455 2020-09-25T00:02:56Z 2020-09-25T00:02:56Z The Athletics have placed right-handed reliever J.B. Wendelken on the injured list and recalled righty James Kaprielian, per a team announcement. The club didn’t provide a reason for Wendelken’s IL placement, nor will it announce why it sent him to the IL, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    If Wendelken ends up missing an extended period, it would be a tough blow to the AL West champion A’s bullpen as they head into the postseason. After all, Wendelken has joined Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, Yusmeiro Petit and Jordan Weems, among others, to form an outstanding Oakland relief corps this year.

    Now 27 years old, Wendelken has been a highly effective member of Oakland’s bullpen since 2017. He has given Oakland 25 innings of 1.80 ERA/3.06 FIP ball with 11.16 K/9, 3.96 BB/9 and a 46 percent groundball rate in 2020.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Outright Daniel Mengden]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247551 2020-09-22T21:25:58Z 2020-09-22T21:25:58Z The Athletics have outrighted hurler Daniel Mengden after he cleared waivers, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com was among those to report.

    The A’s previously designated the right-handed Mengden for assignment Sept. 20, which came a little over a month after his most recent appearance on Aug. 18. Mengden threw 12 1/3 innings of five-run ball earlier this year, but he spent time on the COVID-19 injured list before the A’s designated him.

    Now 27, Mengden debuted in 2016 and emerged as a respectable piece of the A’s staff the next season. In fact, from 2017-18, Mengden combined for a 3.80 ERA/4.57 FIP with 5.73 K/9 and 1.99 BB/9 over 158 2/3 innings and 29 appearances (24 starts). Mengden’s output has dropped since that two-year stretch, though, largely because of a major increase in walk rate. He has issued 4.25 free passes per nine, logged 6.5 K/9 and posted a 4.63 ERA/4.85 FIP over 72 innings since 2019.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Chad Pinder Returns To Baseball Activities]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=246996 2020-09-21T13:28:46Z 2020-09-21T00:04:00Z
  • Athletics utility player Chad Pinder took some hacks in the batting cage while returning to baseball activities today, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). It remains entirely unclear if he’ll return before the postseason. The 28-year-old Pinder may not look like much from his .226/.281/.396 slash line, but he could play an important role for the A’s in the playoffs. With Matt Chapman out for the year, Pinder has a good chance to get the start at third base against southpaws while Jake Lamb and Vimael Machín fill out the hot corner rotation. Pinder boasts a 108 career wRC+ against lefties versus 89 wRC+ against same-handed hurlers.
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